February 24, 2014
The News Journal
Time to close Del. education diversity gap
An op-ed by Melva Ware, former Associate Director at the Delaware Center for Teacher Education, and Laurisa Schutt, Executive Director of Teach For America-Delaware
February is Black History Month and we’re thinking about the critical need for more diverse educators in our state. Delaware’s public school population is 45 percent African-American and Latino and 52 percent white. Teachers of color in our state have comprised 13 percent of the teacher workforce statewide for two decades.
Lack of federal funding could mean cutbacks to Delaware education programs
While public school enrollment continues to grow, Delaware schools districts are bracing for federal funding cuts which could lead to layoffs. The Department of Education went before the Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday where it announced an influx of nearly 2,000 students entering the public education system. This means more teacher unit increases, a cost shared between the state and local districts.
Smyrna School District referendums approved by voters
Residents of Smyrna School District said “yes” to a pair tax increase proposals Saturday. The first referendum, bolstering the district’s operating budget by $1.5 million, passed 958-569. It will hike property tax rates by about $85 a year for the average property valued at $200,000.
Smryna-Clayton Sun Times
Military Academy purchases St. Joe’s property in Clayton
When First State Military Academy opens its doors for the first time for students in fall 2015, the charter school will do so in Clayton. Late last month FSMA board members went to settlement on the old St. Joseph’s School on Duck Creek Road in Clayton. Providence Creek Academy charter school is located back behind the St. Joe’s property.
Los Angeles Times
Many L.A. Unified school libraries, lacking staff, are forced to shut
Budget cuts in the Los Angeles Unified School District have eliminated hundreds of library aides, leaving school libraries unstaffed for months at a time over the last four years. About half of the 600 elementary and middle school libraries are without librarians or aides, denying tens of thousands of students regular access to nearly $100 million worth of books, according to district data.
Minnesota aims to ratchet down achievement gap
As some states use their No Child Left Behind Act waivers to try to move far away from certain aspects of the law, Minnesota is doing the opposite when it comes to accountability—and with early, promising results. The state is eschewing popular education policy trends such as A-F grading systems, state takeover districts, and “supersubgroups” of at-risk students in favor of policies that embrace the spirit of the 12-year-old accountability law.
School districts embrace second generation of ‘innovation zones’
A second wave of so-called “innovation zones” seems to be sweeping the country, with states and districts adopting policies to grant certain public schools flexibility from some requirements, much like those allowed for charter schools, in the hope that it will lead to new ways of teaching and learning, as well as higher levels of achievement.
Common Core tensions cause union heartburn
The unions’ evolving positions raise new questions about the standards’ durability at a time when the common core has been buffeted by criticism: from conservatives worried about a loss of state and local control, and from progressives fretting about the impact on teacher evaluations, classroom instruction, and student assessment. It reflects, too, that while the unions’ national leaders have been bullish on the standards, the rank-and-file has been divided.